Reviewed by: Samiatu Dosunmu
What is FAITH and why is it important? Answer
About PRAYER in God’s Word
PRAYER—Tips for new and growing Christians
Why aren’t my prayers answered? Answer
What is the INTERCESSION OF CHRIST? Answer
What is the INTERCESSION OF THE SPIRIT? Answer
About MIRACLES in the Bible, including comprehensive list
Why is our level of HUMILITY important? Answer
What is the FEAR OF THE LORD and why is it very important? Answer
About the MIRACLES of the Bible, with comprehensive list
Is it logical to believe that the biblical miracles really happened? Answer
Being a person that is overly controlling
|Featuring:|| Chrissy Metz … Joyce Smith
Topher Grace … Pastor Jason Noble
Josh Lucas … Brian Smith
Dennis Haysbert … Doctor Garrett
Marcel Ruiz … John Smith
Sam Trammell … Dr. Kent Sutterer
Mike Colter … Tommy Shine
Rebecca Staab … Cindy Reiger
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|Producer:||DeVon Franklin—“Miracles from Heaven,” “Heaven Is for Real” (author, Seventh-day Adventist preacher, motivational speaker)
Fox 2000 Pictures
Twentieth Century Fox
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Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, a division of The Walt Disney Company
This film is based on the book, The Impossible: The Miraculous Story of a Mother’s Faith and Her Child’s.
John Smith (Marcel Ruiz), a 14-year-old teen, lives in Missouri with his mother Joyce (Chrissy Metz) and father Brian (Josh Lucas). They are Christians, and Joyce is determined to raise and run her home as such. It is revealed that John was adopted by the Smiths, as a baby, during a mission’s trip to Guatemala. John often struggles with being adopted, because, in his eyes, he questions why his birth mother did not want him.
At school, John is popular and well-liked by his peers. He is talented in basketball, but is often reminded by his coach that the sport is a team effort; his ego prevents him from seeing that.
Meanwhile, Joyce, is an active church member, leading several ministries. However, she is very hostile toward Pastor Jason (Topher Grace), because she does not like his haircut nor his efforts in making the church more welcoming to the youth. She takes issue with the incorporation of rap in the worship team and his references to pop culture as part of his sermons.
On January 24, 2015 (Martin Luther King Jr Day), John and his friends Josh (Isaac Kragten) and Reiger (Nikolas Dukic), decide to spend a fun day playing in the park that borders the ice-covered lake of St. Louis. On a dare, the teens decide to skate on the frozen lake. They are warned by a restaurant owner overlooking the lake to get off the ice. The teens ignore the warning.
Note: This review contains some possible ***SPOILERS*** .
Minutes later, the ice cracks, sucking all three teens into the water. Josh manages to crawl out, with the help of John, but, in the process, accidentally kicks John in the head, rendering him unconscious. He loses his grip and begins to sink to the bottom of the lake. The fire department and police are immediately called to the scene. Firefighter Tommy Shine (Mike Colter), along with his colleague, immediately rescues Reiger. Both Josh and Reiger tell Tommy that John is drowning and sinking to the bottom. Tommy and his partner immediately jump into the water with equipment to locate John. By this time, John has been under water for 15 minutes; the chances of finding him alive are grim. At one point, Tommy hears what he believes is his fire chief (Chuck Shamata) telling him to abandon the search. He then hears another voice instructing him to keep searching. Minutes later, a frozen John is rescued. He is breathing but has no pulse.
He is immediately loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the local hospital where Dr. Ken Sutterer (Sam Trammell) and his team frantically try to generate a pulse. Meanwhile, Joyce, is informed of her son’s condition. She immediately rushes to the hospital to see her son. After an hour of trying to generate a pulse, Dr. Sutterer informs Joyce that her son is clinically dead. Joyce immediately insists on seeing her son.
With renewed hope, Dr. Sutterer immediately arranges for Josh to be transferred into the care of renowned drowning expert Dr. Garrett (Dennis Haysbert). Dr. Garrett warns both Joyce and Brian that John’s prognosis is grim. Joyce tells Dr. Garrett that she is putting her full trust in him, because he is the best and she expects him to do everything medically possible to save her son.
Through the relentless efforts of Dr. Garrett’s team, support from the church (including Pastor Jason), prayer and unshakable faith, John slowly recovers after coming out of a medically induced coma and is completely healed, showing no signs of his ordeal within two days. This baffles medical experts. Two weeks later, John is released from the hospital and resumes his regular life. ***END SPOILERS***
The primary message of this film is miracles. John Smith’s ordeal and recovery was a miracle. Psalms 77:14 “You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples” God is a God of miracles. The Bible uses three main words to refer to a miracle: sign, wonder, and power. These three words help us better understand what the phrase “God of miracles” means. In short, a miracle is an act of God beyond human understanding that displays God’s power, inspires wonder in humans, and acts as a sign that God is at work in the world.
“Miracles are not possible,” some claim. Is this true? Answer
When John awakes from his medically induced coma and is responsive showing no signs of brain damage or memory loss, Dr. Garrett pulls Joyce aside and confides in her that in all his years of work, with his medical training, knowledge, and the cases he has treated, John’s recovery is by far the most baffling to him. He finally concedes that John’s recovery is a miracle. It is evident that he cannot quite explain nor grasp the concept.
As believers, from a human perspective, we understand that a miracle of God is an extraordinary or unnatural event (a wonder) that reveals or confirms a specific message (a sign) through a mighty work (power). From the God of miracle’s vantage point, a miracle is nothing extraordinary or unnatural. It is simply a divine display of His might (power) that attracts the attention of humans (a wonder) to His Word or His purposes (a sign). Joyce, Brian, Pastor Jason, and the church community see John’s miraculous recovery as God revealing His power to us, and therefore is worthy of praise:
“Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds.” —Psalms 72:18
Aphra White wrote,
“The times we continue to walk in seemingly utter hopelessness are the very times He will ‘stretch out [His] hand against the anger of [our foes]’ (Psalms 138:7). He will bring our trouble to completion, causing the Enemy’s attack to cease and to fail. In light of this, what reason would there ever be for despair?”
Joyce’s unfailing faith and belief that her son will recover is the heart and soul of this film. In John’s initial rescue, after being under water for 15 minutes, Tommy, the firefighter presses on, despite his colleague’s comment, “We are looking for a body; this is not a rescue mission.” When Dr. Sutterer, the emergency physician that tries to generate a pulse, informs Joyce to be prepared to say goodbye, it is her unshakable faith and belief in God that causes her to pray with gusto over her son.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Joyce is sure of what she hopes, and, although she cannot physically see the Holy Spirit, she calls upon Him to save her son. Faith is essential in a Christian life. Prayer is a part of faith, but if one does not believe, then prayer becomes fruitless.
Ephesians 2:8-9 states,
As medical staff do everything, they possibly can to save John, Joyce becomes hostile. This is evident when Pastor Jason, who she does not like, shows up to support the family. She also tries to control the medical staff and anyone who speaks negatively about John’s prognosis—negative comments such as “I don’t know why we are spending so much time on this case when our time and resources could be spent elsewhere.” She also spends a lot of time telling medical staff what to do or addressing the members of the community who show up to support her and her husband that she will not tolerate any negative talk regarding her son. If they do not believe he will recover, the way she is convinced, they are free to leave.
This prompts her husband to reprimand her, stating that she is too controlling of the situation. She retaliates by responding that if it were not for her, John would not even be alive. Brian is disgusted and reminds her not to forget who she is. Eventually, the ordeal takes a tole on her health; she is a type one diabetic and is neglecting to take her insulin. When she nearly goes into a diabetic coma, Dr. Garrett orders her on bedrest.
While resting, she is visited by Pastor Jason and confesses to him that she gave birth to a child at 18, but gave it up for adoption. She was not ready to be a parent, but carries extreme guilt over her decision. As a coping mechanism, she finally recognizes that she is controlling both in her home and her servitude. Pastor Jason compassionately reminds her to let God do his work and accept that no matter the outcome, God is in control.
As Christians, personal convictions should have a biblical foundation and not be based on emotion:
“Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.” —Proverbs 28:26
The movie is shot clearly, and gives a sense to the viewer that they are a part of this journey, right along with the Smiths and the community. Although it is a faith-based film, the events are easy to follow for both believers and non. However, despite the secular undertones, it addresses issues such as the inner conflict one may go through giving birth to a child and putting the baby up for adoption or emotions an adoptee may experience.
Although the subject of miracles is the focal point of the film, it does not go into lengthy explanation, but rather leaves room for the audience to process the mystery of miracles.
It also addresses the subject of atheism. Tommy, the firefighter who rescued John, struggles to make sense of the voices he heard while in the water. Later, he tries to process the miracle of John’s recovery. His soul-searching leaves enough room for him to question his atheistic beliefs. When John makes a full recovery and leaves the hospital, he is conflicted by what happened to him. He runs into Tommy. They both ponder, and John says to Tommy, “We are both made for great things.”
A part of John’s bare torso is seen when the emergency staff is trying to administer CPR.
Language: • “h*ll” (2) • “Oh my G*d” (2) • “bullsh*t” • “Don't be a wuss” • “They're hot” (boy says about some girls) • “Shut it” • One of Tommy’s peers calls him “ese,” a reference to his Guatemalan heritage. • Pastor Jason refers to John’s basketball skills as “Lit.”
Secular music, such as “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, can be heard, although it is the clean version of the song. Rap is incorporated in praise and worship during service (this may be offensive to some).
Wind shines are used to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit (this may seem odd or offensive to some).
How is wind like the Holy Spirit?
The real John Smith made a full recovery. He did physical therapy for a short period for wrist movement. John Smith’s case has become legendary in the medical community. He often grants interviews explaining his ordeal.
Pastor Jason and the Smiths remain close to this day.
Actress Chrissy Metz is quoted as saying at the film’s premiere, “I am an absolute believer in the power of prayer. It has helped me so much in my life, and it is the reason why I am standing here.”
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.